I’ve briefly mentioned, on social media, the sudden need to move away from Medium as the platform that was hosting my daily blogs. Medium decided to put my content behind a paywall, regardless of my wishes, due to the traffic being generated. I am not ok with charging money for these writings, especially if a) I am not necessarily winning and b) I’m not getting paid… so, off to find a new home. AND, DeepDiveMedia.co, and by extension, Whale and Andy, have graciously offered to host. So, here we go!
Day one of Indian Wells. Daily picks continue to struggle but, @Ballboyz hit another outright last week with Guido Pella in Sao Paulo, so it’s all engines firing on that front. Indian Wells eases into action Thursday and Friday with some first round matches, let’s dig in.
Cameron Norrie went four deep in Acapulco. He also went to the finals in Auckland, similarly, an outdoor hard court venue nestled up to the water. The courts are supposed to be a tad slower than normal, and Norrie played the Golden Swing, meaning he has dealt with some clay conditions recently and should be able to adapt easily. Norrie also has the requisite hard court statistical advantages over FAA to support him being a favorite here, even a cheap favorite. FAA is coming from Brazil and may also benefit from a slower court. But, his hard court track record, even at the Challenger level, is not that sparkling - he hasn’t won a main draw hard court match yet in 2019 and losses to Chris Eubanks and Aslan Karatsev don’t stoke much hope in him beating Norrie. I’ll parlay Norrie in case FAA puts up a strong fight.
I have a small outright on Ivashka and I, obviously, think this is a winnable match for the Belorussian. His hard court numbers are far better than Andreozzi’s and Andreozzi is some serious kind of funk. Clay is Andreozzi’s surface and he went a dismal 0-4 on the Golden Swing. He hasn’t won a match since Sydney and travelling up from South America probably isn’t going to help. This is more a fade of Andreozzi than anything else.
Klizan has better numbers across the board than Mischa. He has better hold/break numbers in each of the past three years, he is better for the career on hard courts, and he is better in tiebreaks (actually has a winning record). Additionally, Klizan has beaten Mischa handily both times they have played, both on hard courts and Mischa, as a lefty, actually struggles with other lefties (0.354 for his career). Lastly, Mischa has only played two matches this year and wasn’t really competitive in either (hasn’t won a set yet). I’ll take Klizan on the handicap here.
I’m not sure how you get involved in DD/ARV. Dzumhur is having a rough start to 2019, sporting a hold/break number on hard courts that is hovering around 70%, which is, like, less than Challenger level type performance. ARV is traditionally not much of a hard court player, with a career winning percentage below 40% and hold/break numbers that are less than impressive. Hard pass.
I think I’ve learned my lesson with Ivo. He is 0-3 in his last three outings and hasn’t won a match since the Aussie. for a guy who lives and dies by the tiebreak…. his 9-10 in them on the year, including 2-5 since the Aussie ended. Gross. Ebden doesn’t have great hard court stats and is much better on grass but, he has, amazingly, beaten Dr. Ivo on hard courts twice. I have no interest in sweating more tiebreaks here. Pass.
I picked this one out as soon as I saw the draw. PHH has lost to Kohl four times but, the last two were tight affairs where PHH lost coin-flip tiebreaks. I’ll admit the first two losses were blowouts but, PHH is a different player now. He is quickly improving while Kohl is continuing to age. PHH has showed well at all four tournaments he entered in 2019, making the final in Montpellier and losing tight matches to Nishikori and Raonic sandwiched around that. His hold/break numbers show a straight upward trend, while Kohl is moving the other way - Kohl has ONE main draw win since Auckland and it was against #261 Zhi Li. I’ll take the dog money here.
Norrie/Ivashka ml, +110
Klizan -3.5, +100
PHH ml, +120
Kudla and Nishioka both win far too little on hard courts to interest me here; at least at the ATP level. Their hard court hold/break numbers are sufficiently similar over the past two years that I don’t see an edge there either. They’ve played twice and split the series, although Nishioka won the hard court encounter. If the courts continue to play as slow as they showed in the morning session, Nishioka is probably rightly the heavy fav (Shenzhen title last year). I’ll pass.
Delbonis and Thompson are both rocking winning percentages under 0.400 on hard courts. That’s gross. Again, if it’s slow (FAA, Andreozzi, Klizan, ARV all showing extremely well early) Delbonis may be a live dog. Hard pass.
Chardy “should” win this match fairly easily. It’s not like Giron is a hot, young prospect; he’s 25. It’s also not like Giron cruised through qualies either (consider he played 65 games in two matches, Ugo Humbert played 40). Chardy has a pretty rough history here though (maybe due to the slower speeds nullifying his serve?). Last year was the first time he really had any success and that could have been pretty draw dependent. Chardy is also on a bit of a losing streak (his last three matches) so, I’ll pass on this.
Berrettini has showed he can play on hard courts. A lot of those wins last year were in qualies and indoors. Outdoor hards, in a main draw, are a bit of a different story. In 2019 it’s been much of the same - great success in Sofia (indoors) and not so much elsewhere. He is 1-4 on outdoors this year and that win was against #79 Mackenzie McDonald. Querrey has had success here, he has decent sized advantages in hold/break numbers on hard courts and this is a cheap price. I am assuming that price is dictated by Querrey’s current form but, losses to Isner and to Brayden Schnur in New York, who was playing once in a lifetime tennis, aren’t necessarily the worst thing. I’ll jump on Querrey here.
I’m on the Ugo bandwagon. This guy cruised through qualies, he had a great run in Marseilles, and he has dominated the Challenger tour early this year. His hold/break numbers on hard courts, at this young age, are already equivalent to Marterer’s and he is only getting better (he has 78 aces already this year!). Marterer is coming from clay and hasn’t beaten anyone in the top 50 on hard courts (he’s also on a bit of a losing streak, having gone 1-4 on the Golden Swing). Marterer wins at a 0.290 clip on hards at this level. I’ll put Humbert with Querrey.
I soooo want to trust Paire here. The stats are overwhelmingly in his favour… but, Pair struggles in Indian Wells. Two wins in five trips. Paire also is having a pretty miserable 2019. This is a straight avoid (wouldn’t surprise me if Paire covers the handicap easily though).
Humbert/Querrey ml, +142
Scheduling is not working today. I will get the late matches up after dinner.